It's always interesting to see just what direction the UFC goes with late notice injury replacements. In the case of their recent Barueri card, Jungle Fight champions were the fighters on deck when talent went down to injury at the last minute. For their upcoming Sweden card, a US based fighter with an EU visa was the choice. For their upcoming fight card in Boston, UFC Fight Night: McGregor vs. Siver, Zuffa has signed a slightly more familiar face... slightly. Following a rib injury to Costas Philippou, MMAFighting reports that the UFC has signed Strikeforce veteran Louis Taylor to fight Uriah Hall on January 18th. So...
Who is Louis Taylor?
"Beast Mode" is a 35-year old middleweight fighter training out of Chicago Fight Team, sister camp of Lobo Gym, home of Alexa Grasso and Irene Aldana. Taylor will bring a record of 11-3 with him into the octagon, compiled over a career stretching back seven years. He's had a pair of bouts in Strikeforce, losing to Nate Moore and Joe Riggs, and a pair of bouts in Bellator, beating Ryan Sturdy and Joe Vedepo. Currently, he's on a four fight win streak, punctuated with a win over recent UFC release Brian Houston. Taylor has only been to decision once in his MMA career. Outside MMA Taylor wrestled at Eastern Illinois University and has been active on the no-gi grappling circuit.
What you should expect:
Taylor has a somewhat static striking base and prefers to kick from the outside, leaving him open to getting taken down a bit. He is an adept scrambler from bottom, and gets to his feet well. His takedown game appears at times more opportunistic and powerful than technical (although he has shown the ability to grind for takedowns in the clinch), but once he's on top he's got a very heavy base which he uses to rain down powerful strikes in the guard. He uses his wrestling from top position well, to set up his front headlock game in transition, which is why he's been so successful with his guillotine, and his muscular frame gives him a pretty fantastic squeeze. When Taylor hasn't been given opportunities for the takedown, he's tended to get stuck at range where his striking game isn't particularly effective.
What this means for his debut:
This is not a great matchup for Taylor. Say what you want about Hall, but his weakness in the cage hasn't tended to be wrestling and getting taken down. Taylor may be able to suck hall into an ugly fence grappling battle, where Hall has shown tendencies to just stall out and lose rounds, but it feels more likely that Taylor is going to end up on the outside trading single shots with Hall, and that's not a fight he's very likely to win.
To get better acquainted, here's Taylor's recent bout with Robert Gotreau at APFC 17, back in April of last year: